05.08 / Lecture

Spatial Fictions of Quarantine

Join the writer and creator of the highly acclaimed BLDGBLOG Geoff Manaugh and contributing writer for the New Yorker and author Nicola Twilley in a conversation about quarantine as a peculiar kind of human-exclusion zone

This evening is part of The New Normal series of events at Strelka.

Quarantine is the use of space to separate one thing from another for the purpose of preventing infection. Travelers exposed to pandemic diseases are placed in quarantine, spam emails are quarantine and even rock samples from the moon are held in quarantine. All of these examples imply zones of safety and danger, of free inhabitation vs. total control. Quarantine is a medical tool as much as it is a political one. Indeed, quarantine lends itself unusually well to metaphor, suggesting economic, logistical, and even philosophical scenarios that rely on uncertainty and isolation to achieve their goals.

This evening will be devoted to discussing quarantine as a peculiar kind of human-exclusion zone, including the diagnostic technologies, algorithmic modeling, and automated infrastructures that will determine its future.


Geoff Manaugh — writer and the author of A Burglar’s Guide to the City, on the relationship between crime and architecture, which was a New York Times-bestseller for two months, and, in 2016, was optioned for television by CBS Studios. In 2004 Manaugh launched a widely acclaimed BLDGBLOG (“building blog”). Because of BLDGBLOG, Wired named Manaugh one of “the 18 people who will tell you everything you need to know about design”. Manaugh regularly covers issues related to cities, design, crime, infrastructure, and technology for The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, New Scientist, The Daily Beast, and many other publications. His short story “Ernest,” published by VICE in October 2017, is currently being adapted for film. Manaugh is former co-director of Studio-X NYC, an off-campus event space and urban futures think tank run by the architecture department at Columbia University. He has also been Editor-in-Chief of Gizmodo (2013-2014), a Contributing Editor at Wired UK (2009-2013), and Senior Editor of Dwell (2007-2009).

Nicola Twilley — a contributing writer at the New Yorker, co-host of the podcast Gastropod, co-director of Studio-X New York. She is also the author of the blog Edible Geography, co-founder of the Foodprint Project, designer, and curator with exhibitions installed at Storefront for Art and Architecture and the Pratt Manhattan Gallery. Her works were published in The Atlantic, Volume, Domus, Landscape Architecture, The Architects’ Newspaper, Dwell, Business Insider, and Wired UK.

Manaugh is and Twilley are currently working on a book about the history and future of quarantine.

The event is organized with the support of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.

This evening is part of a larger series of The New Normal public events at Strelka marking the end of the three-year research program and think-tank. Curated by program faculty, this series will investigate some of the core themes of the program, defining the new contemporary condition we call “the new normal”.

The lectures will be held in English, with simultaneous translation into Russian.

For accreditation — pr@strelka.com.

english with simultaneous translation into Russian
Summer programme in social media
Stay tuned
Sign up for our monthly newsletter
Strelka’s latest news, projects and events